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Review: Cape Town’s first stand-alone poké spot, Hokey Poke

Hokey Poke is the first stand-alone restaurant in Cape Town to offer the trendy Hawaiian dish poké and, judging by our first taste, it’s a trend that will stick around for a while.

Hokey-pokey-amy-ebedes

The menu comprises solely of the Hawaiian-inspired poké: raw fish with a host of other fresh ingredients. Photo by Amy Ebedes.

Fast facts

Serves: As the name suggests, the menu comprises solely of the Hawaiian-inspired poké, which is raw fish with a host of other fresh ingredients.
Cost: Between R80 and R125 per house bowl. Build-your-own bowls are priced per ingredient.
Best for: Grabbing a delicious work lunch on the go or a fuss-free meal.
Parking: It’s just off Adderley Street and near Greenmarket Square, so parking can be a bit chaotic. It’s best to walk or catch an Uber.
Star rating: Food 5, service 4, ambience 3

A build-your-own-bowl system allows the restaurant to cater for all sorts of preferences and intolerances. Photo supplied.

A build-your-own-bowl system allows the restaurant to cater for all sorts of preferences and intolerances. Photo supplied.

Food

Hokey Poke is the first stand-alone restaurant in Cape Town to offer the trendy Hawaiian dish poké and, judging by our first taste, it’s a trend that will stick around for a while.

As soon as you step up to order your food at the till, you’re confronted with a huge selection of options. Diners can choose between the six house dishes or be brave and opt for the build-your-own option. Since it’s our first visit (and to be honest, we’re a little overwhelmed at the number of ingredients), we decide to order two of the prepared bowls.

Pink neon lighting announces the Church St store. Photo supplied.

Pink neon lighting announces the Church St store. Photo supplied.

The bowls are quickly assembled at the counter and delivered to your table. Diners have the option of substituting the sticky rice for slaw, baby leaves or gluten-free nachos.

We choose the #5 bowl, which is a fabulous assortment of sticky rice, salmon, salmon crackling, edamame beans, pickled beetroot, radish, avocado and pomegranateandponzu sauce. Our other dish, Hot 4, is the nachos bowl, featuring hot tuna, pineapple, avo, jalapeños, coriander, spring onions and Santa Anna nacho chips.

The verdict? It’s as fresh as it gets, and the combination of flavours is fantastic. Towards the end of the meal, we forego our chopsticks for a fork. Not an iota shall be left behind.

The menu is constantly being adapted to include seasonal produce, including the likes of samphire, kombu, fresh fruits and more.

A bowl, ready to go. Photo supplied.

A bowl, ready to go. Photo supplied.

Drinks

Hokey Poke doesn’t currently have a liquor licence, but the drinks fridge is stocked with bottles of kombucha, mineral water and glass-bottled sodas.

Service

Friendly and prompt. Owner Max Botha is seemingly everywhere, both assisting behind the counter and walking the floor, checking on customers. He’s very clearly passionate about poké (and rightfully so), and seems to be quickly finding his feet in the restaurant industry.

Each dish is assembled to order, so don’t expect to pop in to collect a ready-made dish. It’s worth the short wait.

Hokey-Poke-pink

The signature purple neon palm tree gives the interior a trendy edge. Photo supplied.

End off your meal with a Las Paletas lolly.

Ambience

Hokey Poké has made clever use of a very small space. White tiles make it feel much larger than it is, and the signature purple neon palm tree gives it a trendy edge.

And…

Keep your eye out for the Downtown Saturday Brunch, launching in the near future.

Have you been to Hokey Poke? Tell us what you thought with a review.

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay their own way. Read our full editorial policy here.

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